Part 7 in a 10 part series. To view other entries into the War Paint Series, follow the link.
La Liberté guidant le peuple is a seminal piece of art by French Romanticist Eugène Delacroix. Finished in 1830, after the July Revolution, which saw the toppling and exile of monarch King Charles X of France. It has become a symbol of the Republic, and the central figure, Marianne, bearing the tricolor flag and a Phrygian cap, is a timeless figure, the same represented by the Statue of Liberty.
Charles X was the last of the senior branch of Bourbon monarchs to sit on the French throne and was a younger brother of the decapitated Louis XVI. The July Revolution kicked off on July 27, 1830, a day after police raided a press office to seize contraband newspapers during a period of heightened tension. Three days of fighting ensued with the end result being a constitutional monarchy. Charles was replaced by Louis Phillipe I, who would himself be forced from power in the Revolution of 1848 (the French love a good revolt). One could spend their entire life thinking that the French Revolution was the end of monarchs in France, but the nation had alternating periods of republic and monarchy until the fall of Napoleon III in 1870.
Delacroix was born in Charenton-Saint-Maurice, just outside of Paris, in 1798. He is one of the leading figures in the French Romantic movement with this particular work being his most recognizable. He was well-traveled, having visited England, Spain and North Africa among other places. He lived a very private life of which little is known. He left no heirs when he died in Paris in 1863.
The painting hangs in the Louvre.
(Note: Some of this post is taken from a longer post I did on the painting some months back. Check it out here.)